Profile interview

The Executive MBA is spot on regarding the retail transformation

Working for global retail giant H&M for eight years and counting, Emil Ivarsson has taken part in an important journey towards building a digital and sustainable business.

"The EMBA at BI will be a tool to help him contribute to pushing this development further".

Emil has had ambitions to work with strategy and business at a management level for a long time, and had planned to take an MBA for several years – researching various schools around the world.

– BI's Executive MBA appealed to me because the core courses are very relevant and provide a broad knowledge. In addition, all electives are very up-to-date, with the possibility to learn more on sustainability, digital business and global business, so BI's EMBA was at the top of my list, he says.

– I emphasize strongly on digital business and how to drive digital transformation, as well as machine learning and AI, and I think all of that is relevant in the restructuring that retail is going through.

A good balance between textbook and real world knowledge

He feels the program provides a good mix of the academic proven concepts within the subject areas, very good cases, and the latest in research. 

– Academia is sometimes a couple of years behind the business world, but the lecturers at BI were able to link the knowledge clearly to what is happening in the world right now. 

Emil says that the modules that his favorite lecturers on the program were responsible for, were weeks of constant learning.


"You gain so much knowledge by listening to the situations they have been in. Many of them are consultants in the business world as well as being lecturers, which enables them to use very relevant examples. The best of them also made it easy to link the learnings to your own industry".

"I found that the examples that were given were relevant to my own workday, even when they came from completely different industries than retail".

Learning from fellow students

One of the most important and rewarding assets of the BI EMBA program is what he learned from his fellow EMBA students, says Emil.

– Studying alongside 35 people between the ages of 30 and 50, from 16 different countries and at least 25 different industries, provides an absolutely fantastic diversity. The fact that you get to learn from each other, and share knowledge and experiences with your fellow students, is what is so unique about an Executive MBA.

He feels the combination of top notch lecturers and the years of experience found in the classroom was very valuable. 

– Having access to the best professors and lecturers BI has to offer, together with the knowledge and work experience that the class had, is the reason why I opted for an executive MBA and not a classic one-year MBA.

Another important reason why Emil chose BI over other educational institutions is the way the program is structured.

– Because the program is made up of six modules of two weeks each, it is more intensive than if you had had classes one day a week over a longer period of time. In many ways, you find yourself in a kind of a “bubble” together with your fellow students. This means you are one hundred percent present, and get more out of it.

BI Executive MBA

  • Ranked among the world’s best Executive MBA degrees
  • 87% of the students finishing EMBA in 2021 reported that the course led to a higher job satisfaction
  • Designed to give you the tools to lead your organisation into a digital, global and sustainable future

Exciting external partners

Through the Executive MBA at BI, students also get to travel abroad for modules at some of BI’s external partners. For Emil Ivarsson, this meant an exciting stay at UC Haas School of Business in Berkeley. 

– Two weeks of innovation and entrepreneurship at one of the world's leading Universities, together with the whole class, was a fantastic experience.

He believes having Berkeley as a partner on the program is a competitive advantage for BI.

– There is a reason why Berkeley is one of the world's most famous schools. To be able to tap into that whole environment, with the connection the professors have right into the heart of Silicon Valley, was absolutely amazing.

Demanding, but rewarding

Completing an executive MBA alongside a full-time job requires a focus and dedication that can feel demanding, says Emil. But he definitely feels it has been worth it. 

"You put yourself in a situation where your limit for how much you can handle at once is tested, and you stretch your capacity further than you thought possible. My capacity now is on another level than it was before I started the EMBA, and I have much more faith in how much I can endure and what I can achieve."

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